Standing behind or on the bench as a coach, assistant coach or trainer, Hockey Mom and I have been privy to some interesting comments over the years. As the Boy and the Devil have gotten older, the quips have become less and less suitable for presentation in mixed company, however, here are a few memorable ones from when they were somewhat younger.
10. “Did you have fun jumping over the boards?” Asked of a teammate who just had her first successful trip over said boards versus being ushered out the traditional ice-level door by an assistant coach/makeshift traffic cop.
9. “What’s the score?” Obviously posed by a player who was intensely focused on the game, but was perhaps in need of corrective lenses.
8. “That goalie is crazy.” A phrase uttered on more than one occasion by more than one player in reference to more than one apparently anger-ridden or terribly frustrated goaltender rightly opposed to having players enter the forbidden blue ice of the goal crease.
7. “My feet are cold.” A common complaint issued around 6:45am on weekend mornings in classic, old, rural barns with crisp sheets of black ice in late January.
6. “I know. I’m sorry.” Most often heard just after a goal has been scored, a penalty has been served or an unfortunate combination of the two.
5. “Who are we playing?” Asked by the same laser-focused player who from #9 above.
4. “Pass the puck!” More often than not shouted at players on the ice by teammates on the bench who once they reach the ice have the same phrase shouted right back at them.
3. “What’s your name?” Asked of a player by coach early in the season and beyond the age when names are boldly written in permanent marker strips of masking tape and then fashioned securely to the fronts of helmets as constant reminders for the memory-challenged. In our defence, behind those masks, they sometimes all look the same.
2. “I can’t see.” Proclaimed by a young lady from behind a cage and through a sea of matted, saliva-covered, half-frozen, dark brown hair, which takes a full two minutes to fix. Then proclaimed again not more than two minutes later after her very next shift.
And my all-time favourite, innocently offered by a five-year old young lad who was actually little and actually named Johnny:
1. “Coach, I’m not going back out next shift. I really suck at hockey.”
Let me know if you’ve heard any that can top these.